A few posts ago I told you about selling Serenity III to a lovely couple Northern Ireland and we had a new vessel on the way.

Toby, Jimmy and Chris traveled down to Canvey Island in Essex which is where we had the boat built and after a few days she was ready to come home. The MCA had been onboard the boat doing all the checks to make sure she was sea worthy and in compliance with all the new regulations. They also had to do a heel test as well, which is obligatory. I know this may not interest you all, but some might be interested to know a little bit about it, so here is a rough idea how it works. This is extract from the MCA guidance.


The aim of the heeling test is to indicate whether significant modifications have been made to the vessel, its gear or gear handling arrangement. Or if the changes you have made to the vessel have significantly changed the vessels Stability. It is preferable to use components of the actual gear, lifted from a block in its highest & or furthest outboard location, to give a measurable heel angle such that the heeling test will relate directly to the vessels typical fishing operation. E.g. A beam trawler could lift one beam trawl from a horizontal derrick on one side, typically this will result in a heel angle of about 10 degrees. Any increase in the trawl weight or derrick length, or decrease in the stability, will result in a larger heel angle. The heel test can be repeated to assess modifications to the vessel or to assess the effects of cumulative weight gain over time. It is essential that the repeat test is conducted with the vessel arrangement and test weight being as close as possible to the previous test. 1. Arrange the vessel in the depart port condition, an empty hold, no ice and full tanks are advised. 2. The vessel should be trimmed upright by movement of loose gear or tank contents. 3. The heel angle can be measured with a simple inclinometer, provided it enables a – 4 – suitable level of accuracy. 4. Use an outboard derrick to lift a typical to normal fishing operation weight from the derrick. 5. Measure and record the result from the inclinometer, if it is the first heel test make sure you record this for comparison with subsequent tests. Each subsequent test should be within 10% of the original heel test, this figure allows for the slight variation in conditions of test, if the figure is greater the 10% of the original heel test then professional advice should be sought. Whilst conducting either of these tests it may be useful to run the Vessel Roll Test App which is available free from Google Play or any android store on the internet. Minimum Operational Freeboard For open boats recommended Minimum Operational Freeboard is 400mm and they should be restricted to operations no more than 20 miles from a safe haven in favourable weather conditions. For decked vessels (with watertight deck) recommended Minimum Operational Freeboard is 300mm. Decked vessels that do not meet 300mm minimum should limit operations to 20 miles from a safe haven in favourable weather conditions. It is essential to the safe operation of your vessel that you maintain this reserve freeboard. It is the reserve freeboard that provides the vessel the ability to remain upright and afloat.

This talks about fishing vessels but it includes all passenger vessels too, but let me tell you the weather conditions have perfect too

Wind – Don’t conduct the test on a very windy day when the wind could cause the boat to heel significantly during the test.

Current – Under ideal conditions, the test should take place in a basin free from the effects of current. Conduct the test in areas that have no or very little current. To avoid the effect of tidal currents, conduct the test during slack tides, or moor in a position so that any small current runs from dead ahead to dead astern.

Waves – The influence of naturally occurring waves or those caused by another boat can alter the test and make the results invalid. Ideally, the water should be flat calm. Wavelets that don’t cause the vessel to roll are acceptable.

We also had to hire all the weights for the heel test, but the weather gods were not on our side and it blew 45/50 mph for 4 or 5 days. This was such a pain in the bum as everything had been organized so well and we were so excited to get her home, but I suppose these things are here to test you or give you another head ache.

With everything cancelled the lads just headed home and we waited for a month until we could hire the weights and arrange for the MCA to be available again.

Our date was fixed once again and our fingers were crossed everything would go okay and with just a few minor set backs everything was good to go.

Chris drove the car home and Toby and Jimmy brought the new Serenity III home.

The first past of the leg was from Canvey Island to Lowestoft where the lads stopped to refuel, check everything is okay and then decided to stay the night. One of the reasons they decided to do this was because of all the lobster pot bouys around and it was also getting dark. The last things they wanted to do was to catch a bouy in the pitch black in an area they did not know.

The next morning they left Lowestoft fully fueled the second it was daylight and headed north towards Seahouses. This leg of the trip was going to be long and boring but it had to be done. Stocked up with food and coffee the lads cruised home, with an average speed of 14 knots all the way. The boat was perfect and the engines never battered an eye lid. Speaking of eye lids, the lads eventually arrived home 10.30 pm, tired and ready for a pint before they hit the sack.

So there we have it, our new vessel in the fleet and she looks lovely, so lets hope it will not be to long before shes on the high seas enjoying the Farne Islands, but until we are free from this virus she will only be going out to do essential checks which is a must for all our boats.

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